Dare, Troy Redfern

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The more times Dare play, the more they seem to enjoy themselves and with that come greater and greater performances.

DARE, TROY REDFERN

Nuneaton: Queens Hall - 19 March 2022

The first time I saw Troy Redfern was supporting the brilliant Robert Jon & The Wreck at the Leeds Brudenell last September. Then he was just solo, but this evening he'd added a drummer to beef up the sound. Redfern's playing was exemplary and highlighted why he's regarded as one of the greatest slide guitarists of this generation. He received an appreciative reception from the audience who were there for one reason only.

Although considerably less in numbers (approximately two hundred) than the last time I saw Dare at the Holmfirth Picturedrome, there were still enough in attendance (including the local "Nuneatonians" as Darren Wharton called them) to generate a fantastic atmosphere. The five musicians strode on to stage to a hero's reception and opened with 'Born In The Storm', the opening track of the soon to be released new album 'Road To Eden'. It's archetypal Dare with a bit more emphasis on the Rock than their recent output, and slotted in perfectly with the rest of their back catalogue.

The sound wasn't up to the standards of the aforementioned Picturedrome (very few gigs are), but the mix was reasonable, though from a spectator's point of view, it could have done with turning down a few decibels; however, as stated, it was far from poor, and did not detract from a superb evening's entertainment.

The steady rhythm was kept by the ever-reliable Kev "Hairy Biker" Whitehead and Nigel "The Human Dry Ice Machine" Clutterbuck, whilst the Queens Hall stage meant that musical director and keyboard wizard Marc Roberts was not left lurking in the shadows; with Wharton and guitarist Vinny "Curly" Burns sharing the spotlight throughout the ninety-plus minute set.

The first half of the set was proliferated by tracks from their last studio album, the superb 'Sacred Ground', including 'Home', 'Until', 'On My Own', 'Every Time We Say Goodbye' and 'I'll Hear You Pray'.

'Sea Of Roses' for many years had served as an opener, but tonight was played to equal reverence mid-set. Wharton dedicated 'Where Darkness Ends' to the brave people of The Ukraine, who are never too far from all our thoughts these days. At times, it can be hard to enjoy yourself when you know of the atrocities happening on the other side of Europe.

'Emerald' was dedicated to Darren's old boss ("a real taskmaster") and is a laudable cover of a classic Thin Lizzy song. The salvo of 'Wings Of Fire' and 'We Don't Need A Reason' from the "heavy" album ('Blood From Stone') went down a storm, paving the way for the closing numbers, five of which were from the subliminal 'Out Of The Silence' opus. Released back in 1988, this is one of the all-time great debut albums of any genre, and still sounds as fresh today as it did thirty-four years ago. 'Abandon' still sends a shiver down my spine every time I hear it, whilst 'Into The Fire' (equally as good) kept up the momentum. The main set concluded with 'The Raindance', juxtaposed to the day's unusual weather of blue skies and sunshine in Warwickshire.

The second dedication of the evening to the late, great Phil Lynott came by way of 'King Of Spades', which was halted halfway through as Burns' guitar had decided to go into mute mode! Wharton amusingly started repeating his spoken intro before the band played it through from start to finish.

This was the last time we will probably hear this set, as the one for October's tour promises to include several tracks from this year's studio album. It's going to be a difficult decision on which songs to drop; I suggest extending the length of the set to accommodate them all.

The lighting, courtesy of Lee Foster (resident of my current home city Sheffield), was excellent as usual, with a poignant yellow and blue cloaking the stage as the band took their bows at the finale.

Within ten minutes of leaving the stage, the whole band were back out mingling with the fans who had remained behind. Similar to FM, the more times Dare play, the more they seem to enjoy themselves and with that come greater and greater performances. I often get asked why I go and see the same band over and over again. In the case of Dare, "we don't need a reason."

Mark Donnelly

Dare Setlist:- Born In The Storm / Home / Until / Days Of Summer / I'll Hear You Pray / Every Time You Say Goodbye / Sea Of Roses / Where Darkness Ends / On My Own / Emerald / Wings Of Fire / We Don't Need A Reason / Abandon / Into The Fire / The Raindance

Encore: Silent Hills / King Of Spades / Return The Heart

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